Watermelon Crawl Festival coming to Pickens county

Pickens country news

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — The Hagood Mill Historic Site is the new home of the Watermelon Crawl Festival.

The festival, now in its second year, will be moving to the mill from Belton, officials announced over the weekend.

The July 27 festival is a partnership between the mill and the S.C. Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame.

The festival is set to begin at 3 p.m. and will feature “music all day,” according to hall of fame executive director Justin Ray Williams.

“We’re very happy to be at this wonderful facility,” Williams said. “We have blues, a little bit of rock, a little bit of country.”
Blues musicians The Carolina Beggars and Nashville singer-songwriter Kyle Mercer are set to perform at the festival. The headliner is Zack Turner, who, along with Buddy Brock, wrote
the 1994 Tracy Byrd hit the festival is named after.

The festival will have food and craft vendors, a watermelon-eating contest, a seed-spitting contest, a watermelon crawl and watermelon carving.

At the end of the festival, Williams said “all of the musicians go back up on stage and we do the actual Watermelon Crawl dance, which is exciting.

“Tons of people come out, they dress in watermelon hats and shirts and those folks are the ones that lead the Watermelon Crawl,” he said.
Williams said the hall of fame events are paired with fundraising for a charity or a nonprofit.

“We’re raising money for Veterans Scholarships Forever,” he said.
Ron Demonet is the founder and managing director of the organization, which aims to establish endowed scholarships at accredited colleges focusing on vocational and skilled trades training in order to help veterans and their spouses acquire new skills sets.

“We’re helping veterans and their families get technical training, get QuickJobs (training), so they can transition back to civilian life quickly,” he said.

Pickens County tourism events coordinator Roy Costner IV said the county is partnering with the hall of fame for several events across the county this year.
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